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Disastrous Fallout From Cruise Ship Death

And then there's the story about the cruise line that appears to know nothing about public relations, not to mention human decency…

In a story that is all over TV and newspapers in Great Britain, a rogue wave smashed into a British "cruise ship" during a storm in the English Channel last week, breaking windows as high as the sixth deck. It was there that an elderly couple was having dinner when water crashed through four windows of the ship's restaurant, instantly killing 85-year-old James Swinstead from Essex.

The ship was the Marco Polo, operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages, and it was returning from 42 days on the other side of the world — the Amazon and the West Marco PoloIndies. While 15 others were injured, Mr. Swinstead was the only fatality and his wife Helen told The Guardian she believed the ship was "badly maintained."

The Swinsteads didn't have enough insurance coverage to take her husband to his final resting place. Said Mrs. Swinstead: "I think the shipping company should give some sort of compensation. The ship was badly maintained. Four windows blew. I told my husband it was going to leak because there was a rusty puddle on the windowsill.

Legally, the cruise line is not obliged to compensate her. In the name of public relations, you would think the cruise line would do something for her…and it did.

She was offered 25 per cent off her next holiday with the cruise line.

Can anybody say "insult?"

— photo credit: Tvabutzku

Holland America Noordam
22 nights
April 15, 2014
Rome (return): MessinaVallettaArgostoliCorfuKotorDubrovnikKorculaSplitVeniceOlympiaNauplionAthensEphesusMykonosRhodesSantoriniNaples
Inside: $1,949
Cost per day: $88

Cruising Where Sun Doesn't Shine

So here's a question for you:

How much would you pay to spend two minutes and 47 seconds watching one of Mother Nature's rare events, from the best place in the world to see it, in outside temperatures below 40 degrees?

The event is a total eclipse of the sun and people are lining up to see it. What they're paying, so far, is upwards of $2,500 per person. To be fair, the cost is part of a two-week cruise on a small ship from the United Kingdom, so it's not really like paying $15 a second for an event that might not happen.

That's right. There's no guarantee the passengers on four ships from three cruise lines will see the eclipse, because it will depend  on weather conditions, such as fog. 

The date is March 20, 2015. The place is somewhere near the Faroe Islands, halfway between northern Scotland and Iceland. The weather is, well…here is The Lonely Planet's description:

"Theatrical meteorology is part of the Faroes’ fascination. Torrential downpours, swirling fogs and vicious storm-force winds are conjured up from nothing as though they were the outcome of witches’ spells. Then miraculously the sun bursts through to paint the towering cliffs in dazzling crystal-clear brilliance. Rainfall is very common (280 days per year on average) but unpredictable."

Fortunately (?), the Faroes are subject to "milder temperatures" because they're in the jet stream. None of this discourages people determined to have the best view of an eclipse. Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines sold out the Boudicca (left) at $2,772 per person, then quickly despatched its Black Watch for the same itinerary at $4,000 per person. Neither can be booked online, which indicates both are sold out.

Voyages of Discovery is sending its mv Voyager, and that's fully booked. Cruise and Maritime Voyages still appears to have space on the Marco Polo at $4,000 to $12,000 per customer.

Besides the solar eclipse at 9:47 that morning, there's a bonus that night — the northern lights.

Weather permitting.

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
July 8, 2013
Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, JuneauSkagwayKetchikanVancouver
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $35


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